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A Last Minute Chocolate Cake

by on January 21, 2008 · 12 comments

I was in the middle of making the Sunshine Dream Bars this morning when Fuzz requested that I make her a “blank” chocolate cake to decorate. Given the nasty weather and the fact that we had some icing and sprinkles on hand, I said yes. All we needed a quick chocolate cake canvas.

This is the perfect recipe for quick, last minute chocolate cake.  Today we baked it in two 9 inch round pans so that Fuzz and her friend could each decorate a layer. Now I’ve made this cake before, but it’s been a while. Today I made it with cake flour and think I prefer the cake flour version over the all purpose.

Fuzz’s friend had a good time decorating, but Fuzz’s perfectionist tendencies got the best of her.  After some frustration and tears, we put her layer in the freezer to save for another day. We decided that in the very near future, we are going to buy a big box of pre-colored fondant and experiment with that. I bought Fuzz a Playdough Fun Factory yesterday and am wondering if we can use it as a fondant extruder.

Chocolate Crazy Cake

3 cups cake flour (340 grams)
2 cups granulated sugar (398 oz)
2 teaspoons baking soda (10 ml)
1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (51 grams)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (180 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
2 tablespoons vinegar (30 ml)
2 cups warm water or brewed coffee (I used water since the cake was for kids) (480 ml)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Spray two 9×2-inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray. Flour-added Pam worked perfectly even for this rather sticky cake.

In a large mixing bowl, six the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add liquid ingredients Mix until uniform, then beat with an electric mixer for about a minute.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Let cool, flip from pans, then decorate or freeze for future rainy days.

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Published on January 21, 2008

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue January 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Poor Fuzz! I can relate to what you’re both going through because one of my two was that way too. He was actually a little more sly in that he wouldn’t even try to do things in front of other people until he knew he could do it perfectly. It drove his teachers crazy, but he’s a nearly 4.0 student at a prep school, and a national merit semi-finalist, so for whatever reason, it works for him! His sister on the other hand is a go all out for it kind of girl! She’s also very bright on a full ride scholarship in college. So, hang in there! Those perfectionist tendencies will work for her as long as she doesn’t let it get the best of her.
BTW, I think the Play Doh fun factory is a great idea! Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have a blast trying!

laura January 21, 2008 at 8:05 pm

I love the idea of the play-doh fun factory for fondant!!

Michelle January 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Oh, I can’t wait to see if the Fun Factory works with the fondant! Please keep us posted!

AF January 21, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Just came upon your site today from Snack Lounge (via HeatEatReview), and I must warn you about the pre-packaged fondant. I’ve heard many not so good things about it. Try this recipe for Marshmallow Fondant. It’s messy, but at least it’s tasty. Or you could buy pre-made Satin Ice fondant, if you don’t want to make the MMF. I’ve only tried MMF, but hear good things about Satin Ice.

And, the Fun Factory can be a fondant extruder, but only if it hasn’t actually touched Play Doh.

Mary January 21, 2008 at 9:04 pm

I think a children’s Play dough fun factory cake is a great idea. Sometimes the concepts we envision don’t always work out. It happens to all of us. It is OK Fuzz. Keep trying. Your coloring is beautiful. Mary

Anna January 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Sue, thanks for the encouragement. Your children sound like amazing kids (young adults ;)).

Laura, Michelle, AF and Mary. Naturally, I plan on sharing the Play Doh Fun Factory Fondant experience. AF, I once made fondant using glucose syrup, powdered sugar and some other stuff (forgot). It tasted great but the whole process was kind of messy. I think I might start with the pre-made and if all goes well and we have fun with it, move on to the better tasting fondant. Thanks for the Satin Ice recommendation.

Mary, I will tell Fuzz you said her coloring is beautiful.

Kathy January 22, 2008 at 11:04 am

I’d be worried that the plastic for the Play Doh Fun Factory is not the kind that is meant to come in contact with food. I would not want anything harmful to leach from the plastic, into the food. I’d worry less about ingesting the Play Doh! :-)

Love your site, btw. I’ve never written before, but I peek in everyday! :-)

Thank you for blogging!!!

Anna January 22, 2008 at 11:18 am

Hmmmm. I’ve read about how certain plastics leach toxic chemicals into food — especially when heated, but I don’t think just running some fondant through a plastic toy would be any worse than running it through plastic decorating tubes or serving it from a plastic plate or mixing it in a plastic bowl or pressing it in a colored plastic mold. But it’s colored plastic so maybe there’s lead in whatever they used to paint it? I don’t know. Good point. Or maybe those things are all food grade. Then again, you’d think anything touching Play Doh would have to have a certain level of safety given that little kids put Play Doh in their mouths. But given the state of things lately, you can’t be too careful.

Anna January 22, 2008 at 11:42 am

Okay, I’m a little freaked out now and probably won’t put fondant through the Play Doh molder. It seemed like such a good idea, but….

I put a question in to our friend Angry Lab Rat who may some advice.

elf January 22, 2008 at 9:35 pm

I often make this cake, but my version calls for cold water (I wonder why). It’s also a one-pan no-equipment recipe: you just mix it up straight in the pan. The easiest way is to make a little well in the dry ingredients, pour in the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and then pour the water over everything and mix it with a fork.

A few years ago I came across a version that called for half a cup of chocolate chips (it would be a full cup for your two-layer 9-inch cake). The chips are just sprinkled over the cake before it’s popped in the oven, and they sink into the batter as it bakes. I find that the added chocolate really transforms this cake from so-so to something special.

Anonymous January 23, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Have you ever made cupcakes from this cake recipe?

Amanda January 31, 2008 at 7:12 pm

you should tag this recipe as vegan, too! it’s one of my favorites!!

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